Definition of curfew in English:


Syllabification: cur·few
Pronunciation: /ˈkərˌfyo͞o


  • 1A regulation requiring people to remain indoors between specified hours, typically at night: a dusk-to-dawn curfew the whole area was immediately placed under curfew
    More example sentences
    • The lists of candidates, their names and manifestos, were all but invisible and a strict curfew was imposed.
    • All exits from the city were totally blocked from the morning and an indefinite curfew was imposed from 6pm.
    • As with many parks around the city, a midnight curfew is imposed.
  • 1.1The hour designated as the beginning of a curfew: to be out after curfew without permission was to risk punishment
    More example sentences
    • The camp compensated by making a later curfew for those on time off.
    • He walks further until one o'clock in the morning (past the curfew for apprentices) and ends up in the graveyard in Copp's Hill.
    • My curfew was usually midnight, but not for dates.
  • 1.2A daily signal indicating the start of curfew.
    More example sentences
    • It wasn't long until the curfew bang sounded and we were shuffled out once again.
    • The execution was to take place at the ringing of the evening curfew bell.


Middle English (denoting a regulation requiring people to extinguish fires at a fixed hour in the evening, or a bell rung at that hour): from Old French cuevrefeu, from cuvrir 'to cover' + feu 'fire'. The current sense dates from the late 19th century.

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